Live Booleans

Non-destructive booleans are a must in most artists workflows these days, especially when it comes to hard-surface or mechanical modeling. And while Blender does offer this functionality natively, it takes more than a few steps to manage… and even simple operations can be a big headache. Modulum’s Live Booleans feature makes working with, and managing, multiple boolean objects a breeze.

Performing a Boolean Operation

To perform a boolean operation, you’ll need be in object mode and select at least 2 mesh objects. The last (mesh) object selected, aka the “active” object, will be the target that the boolean “drivers” (the other selected mesh objects) will be applied to. Once you’ve made your selection you can open the Boolean Pie Menu and select one of the following boolean operations…

Union Operation

Adds multiple meshes together to create a single, unified mesh object.

Demo of a boolean union between 2 mesh objects

Difference Operation

Cuts the active mesh using 1 or more other selected meshes.

Demo of a boolean subtraction between 3 mesh objects

Intersect Operation

Results in a mesh that is the product of a shared, positive space between the selected meshes.

Demo of a boolean intersection between 2 mesh objects

Options

When using any of the Live Boolean operations, there are some settings you can tweak to alter the behavior.

Operator options for subtract/difference

Reparent Booleans
Determines whether or not the boolean drivers will be parented to the target (active) mesh object. Parenting drivers will cause transformations made the target mesh to be applied to the drivers as well.
Always will always reparent the selected boolean driver object(s) to the active object.
Orphans Only will set the active object as the parent of the selected boolean driver object(s) if the said object(s) have no parent.
Never will not attempt to parent the selected boolean driver object(s) to the active object.
Smooth Drivers
Applies smooth shading to the drivers. This is particularly important if your target mesh has auto smoothing enabled.
Automatically Sort Modifiers
When enabled, this will ensure that all boolean modifiers are sorted to the top of modifier stack for the target object, rather than appended to bottom.

Visibility

You can quickly show, hide or toggle the drivers of a mesh object using the Boolean Pie Menu.

Demo of boolean visibility toggling

(Duplicate and) Apply Booleans

Alongside visibility toggling, you can effectively “freeze” the result of your booleans into the mesh or a copy of the mesh by using the “Apply” and “Duplicate and Apply” operations respectively.

Note: These functions will only apply the Boolean modifiers attached to the selected object and will not alter the order of modifiers beforehand. It is highly recommended that you leave boolean modifiers at the top of your modifier stack for best results, or apply other modifiers prior to running either apply operation.

Demo of apply booleans

Boolean Collections & Organization

For your convenience, Modulum will create a collection for any active object that has a boolean operation applied to it. This collection will be named after the active object, followed by the suffix “ Booleans”, and will contain all of the boolean “drivers” for the operation. If you use the same driver on multiple targets, then that driver will appear in each relevant collection.

Image of the boolean collections in the scene outliner

Boolean Pie Menu

The boolean pie menu is available by pressing B in the 3D viewport while in object mode.

Image of the boolean pie menu